Ally Fogg is having a good conversation on why so many young women and people in general have generally “feminist” beliefs and attitudes – gender equality, self-determination in matters of gender – or beliefs and attitudes that feminists say are feminist, or that they claim as feminist, are uncomfortable with calling themselves feminist.
In the course of the conversation Quiet Riot Girl remarked that feminism has been elitist from the beginning, which by itself imposes enough shortcomings, but then goes on to compound the problem by claiming to be all broad-based and democratic and open to diversity of opinion and then to go on and claim to be the broad solution to gender issues.
There’s really no question or discussion to be had about the elitism of early feminism. Just look at the way the suffragettes are dressed in all those photographs. It is impossible to any manual labor at all dressed that way, and this was in an age when anyone who couldn’t afford servants – the 99% – took all day to the laundry for a week, first firing the stove to heat the water, then facing the back-breaking labor of hand washing, wringing and hanging…. And then there was the work of cooking – more firing the stove, plucking the bird if you could afford one……
I answered that it’s the whole vanguard party model. And it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If the elites don’t do this work, who else has the time or resources to do it?
Have you ever heard this story about Zhou Enlai? You remember Zhou Enlai, the one people shed actual tears for?
Once Khruschev was visiting Beijing. At the reception he got loud and boastful – “This is the difference between our country and yours: I was born poor and now I am running the country, while you were born rich and you are still running the country”. And indeed, Zhou Enlai was from a very privileged background.
Zhou Enlai considered for a moment. “That’s very true, but there is this difference: We are both traitors to our classes.”
So elitism doesn’t have to doom a movement, but those elites have to transcend their elitism and their focus on their own issues. (See also Womanism and critiques of white feminism). It’s hard, because selfishness is how their class managed to climb over everyone else and become elites.
Elitism doesn’t have to doom a movement – all the elites have to do is turn on their class, in this case privileged Western white women, to convince us they care about us. They have to help the MRM in the process of disassembling thier female privilege, in other words, building real gender equality. Since they routinely claim that equality between the genders is where their hearts are already, what “real feminism” is, it should be no big deal.
Quiet Riot Girl doubted it would happen because it would require feminists to actually give a shit about men. Nevva hoppen, as they say.
I answered that I agreed, it won’t happen, and here it is another failure to transcend. It is a failure to transcend their traditional enculturation. Male disposability is a pillar of traditional, “patriarchal society”. You simply cannot get the model to work without it.
The answer is for feminists to go deeper into their feminist rejection of traditionalism, even the traditionalism that has crept into feminism. So good-bye to the demonization of male sexuality, which is so Victorian – so good-bye to “rape culture” and “testosterone poisoning” and the penis as weapon imagery; good-bye to male hyperagency – good-bye “patriarchy” and “male privilege” and “male dominance” and female victimhood.
In other words the answer for feminists is to perfect and complete their feminism.
It will be a hard purge and I for one can hardly wait for the show trials.
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